theebrandenburgs blogspear

This page is designed to share information about our struggle to gain equity for our unique children and their learning styles in a public education system that is designed primarily to teach a single type of learner, and which is increasingly sidelined by fiscal and philosophical issues that challenge the core of its collective existence. We are especially interested in unique learners, and the talented people who teach them, their families, and our shared value as human beings. We seek the end of discrimination, the end of seclusion, separation, and isolation, as well as an end to chemical and physical restraints that are commonly used to assault our children and our unique interpretations of the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Water, Where Art Thou?

If this damn water crisis thingie isn't confusing enough, Governor Brown (click here) is responding one way, while the water board is responding quite another. Try walking that fine line without pissing off someone who thinks they're important in their big boy pants (click here):

Brown issued an executive order enshrining a conservation ethic in state regulations — banning permanently some wasteful water practices and ordering regulators to develop new water-efficiency standards designed to drive down long-term urban use.In doing so, Brown made it clear that the days when Californians could use as much water as they pleased are over.At the same time, the staff of the State Water Resources Control Board recommended changes to emergency drought rules that would allow communities around the state to relax or even drop mandatory conservation targets that have been in effect for much of the last year.
So apparently the governor is misinformed, but that's what politica-holics do best.....
California’s two largest reservoirs, Shasta and Oroville in Northern California, are more than 90% full. The State Water Project, which delivers supplies to the Southland, has upped its allocation to 60% of requests, the highest it has been since 2012.

So..... um,what? What does that mean, exactly? I'm getting mixed signals. I'm truly confused.

Does that mean we need to penalize people- or does that mean it's gonna be ok? Is this a catch all for panic- or a legal defense for water users who plan to contest their local cities in court? Are these punitive measures pushed through city councils going to suffice the city councils lust for cash because of their budget failure- or are they simply opening the gates for ill feelings and harassment lawsuits by once supportive citizens?

I for one believe the city is stalking me.

Twenty-five Years Later
I bought a house in Sierra Madre in the early nineteen-nineties. Probably the single worst choice I made in a  life filled with occasionally good choices. When I bought my house I had a garage hook up for my washing machine and it would spit out grey water down the driveway. Being a mechanical wizard I hired a contractor to reroute my water and now my grey water goes with the nasties and stuff to- I would imagine- a water reclamation facility in the city of planning ahead. Yes, I speak of Sierra Madre.

Back then we put in a sprinkler system to water our living room. It probably works better that my toilets do.  Then we tied in a new pipe to the sewage line because the old clay pipes were full of roots. We were so goddamn green that the city actually gave us the go signal after slapping us around a bit and charging us for some guy to check a box on a paper saying we're good scouts and follow the rules. 

It costs money to care about the planet. I'm reminded every time I smog my car. And pass.

A Tree Grows in Sierra Madre
Another thing that we had going on was a water line that was watering the city's land on the other side of the sidewalk. It has watered there for 25 years. I just recently turned the valve off.

There are three Italian Cypresses on the city's side of my property. There were also nice climbing plant things that died when the watering went from three days to two days. The city used to tell me to cut them down. Like that's somehow my problem. 

Now, work with me here. For 25 years I have paid- out of my paycheck- to water three  50 + foot trees on city property. In the process I have not only saved three trees (my neighbors Italian Cypresses died), but I have stopped the root system from further destroying the side walk and the street. 

Both of which belong to the city.

Every Good Boy Deserves Fines
OK so I did something nice, and never even got a thank you from the city. It's like that time I held the door for that asshole city attorney from Sierra Madre who was at the courthouse when we were both on jury duty together. He didn't thank me either. 

I'm so butt hurt.

Anyways, the cops had been nagging me periodically about my ugly truck parked out on the street in front of my house. Owls liked to barf and crap on it. It was periodically broken and required coaxing and gentle caresses to go uphill. The heater only worked fantastically in the blistering heat of summer. The Air conditioner worked spectacularly well in the winter. 

But I sold it anyway.

Little did I realize that the truck was deflecting the 4 AM water showers from the city side sprinklers back into the garden. Stupid me. Once the truck was gone, the water did what water does when it's not in a container. It spilled outward.

Then I got my warning.

The Part Where I Admit to my Evil
Yes, it's true. I am evil and don't care about wasting water. Now my secret is out. 

Pay no mind to the monthly statements I get from the water department letting me know that my family has met its reduction target. Over and over.

Pay no mind to the fact that we have reduced our shower use at home, stopped washing the car, and have lost two fruit trees and most of our back lawn.

Pay no mind to all of the water we catch in our containers in the yard during rainstorms while we watch more than 4000 times the amount we catch as it rolls down the Sierra Madre streets. 

Pay no mind to the hours it takes me to reset the timer on my sprinklers every time the electricity goes out.

Pay no mind to the beautiful grass on the back end of the school grounds which belong to Pasadena Unified, and the park- because green grass is ok if you need it for sports and recreation. 

Pay no mind to the box hedges I planted 20 years ago with family members who have since passed on, and which serve as a fence made not of cement and stone, but of beautiful plants.

I am, of course, an evil man.

The Common Good
I know it is necessary, in a city that prides itself in rewarding the compliant and punishing the dissenters, to harass them and belittle them for trying to do the right thing. After all, we don't matter. 

That's been made painfully clear.

It's made clear whenever I see a city worker flush a hydrant and blast water into the gutter.

It's made clear when I receive pictures of my home taken at 4 AM by city workers policing in the wee hours on the tab of a city that screams 'poor' and 'more taxes' rather than to streamline and use cost efficient work hours.

It's clear when my family can stink and wear clothing 2-3 times before washing them in our water recycling machines before climbing in our filthy cars to go to work to pay for the house that is still owned by Bank of America.

Stupid Questions and J-Pop Metal
Do the water police have side jobs in landscaping?

Do they ever make recommendations or referrals for their friends who are landscapers?

Paper, or plastic? I dunno, but for ten cents a pop I shouldn't have to contemplate these exercises in existentialism any longer.

Most importantly, though, Babymetal (click hear), or Ladybaby (click hear)? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rolling Stone Picks 40 Punk Albums: Part 7. Where I wrap it all up

A top 40 greatest punk rock albums list by someone who actually likes punk rock music might look something like this:

In no particular order: 

40. Fugazi- A Steady Diet of Nothing
39. Electric Frankenstein- The Time is Now!
38. Husker Du- Candy Apple Grey
37. Patti Smith- Radio Ethiopia
36. DOA- War on 45
35. Fear- The Album
34. Black Flag- Damaged
33. Flipper- Generic 
32. Subhumans- Incorrect Thoughts
31. Crass- Stations of the Crass
30. Descendents- Milo Goes to College
29. Minutemen- What Makes a Man Start Fires?
28. NOFX- Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
27. Runaways- Waitin' for the Night
26. Undertones- Undertones
25. Replacements- Stink
24. Zero Boys- Vicious Circle
23. Stiff Little Fingers- Inflammable Material
22. Misfits- Walk Among Us
21. Circle Jerks- Group Sex
20. Screeching Weasel- My Brain Hurts
19. Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks
18. Humpers- Journey to the Center of Your Wallet
17. Bad Brains- I Against I
16. Damned- Black Album
15. Buzzcocks- Love Bites
14. X- Los Angeles
13. Angry Samoans- Inside My Brain
12. Vibrators- Pure Mania
11. Replacements- Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash
10. DOA- Something Better Change
09. Ramones- Road to Ruin
08. Toxic Reasons- Kill by Remote Control
07. X Ray Spex- Germ Free Adolescents
06. Germs- G.I.
05. Heartbreakers- LAMF
04. Damned- Machine Gun Ettiquette
03. Ramones- Leave Home
02. The Clash- Give 'em Enough Rope
01. Dead Boys- Young, Loud, and Snotty

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rolling Stone Picks 40 Punk Albums: Part 6, Where I become agreeable

I agree. 
These belong in the top 40
Misfits- Walk Among Us 
Replacements- Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash 
Germs- G.I. 
Flipper- Generic 
X Ray Spex- Germ Free Adolescents 
Descendents- Milo Goes to College
X- Los Angeles 
Black Flag- Damaged 
Sex Pistols- Never mind the Bollocks

I agree. 
These bands and
these albums belong in the top 40.
Crass- Stations of the Crass
Fugazi- A Steady Diet of Nothing
Bad Brains- I Against I
Buzzcocks- Love Bites
Husker Du- Candy Apple Grey
Minutemen- What Makes a Man Start Fires?
The Clash- Give 'em Enough Rope
Ramones- Leave Home

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rolling Stone Picks 40 Punk Albums: Part 5, Where I Remove Stuff I don't consider the Top 40

These gotta come out because either I can't get into the records, or because I think there are better ones for a top 40. I know, I know.

7. Just.Not. In. My. Top.40

The Jam- All Mod Cons (1978)
Green Day- Dookie (1994) 
Television- Marquee Moon (1977)

And that leaves the records or bands I think are the top shelf.

36. Crass- 
35. Fugazi-
32. Misfits- Walk Among Us (1982)
29. Replacements- Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981)
28. Germs- G.I. (1979)
26. Flipper- Generic (1979)
24. The Jam- All Mod Cons (1978)
20. X Ray Spex- Germ Free Adolescents (1978)
19. Bad Brains-
18. Green Day- Dookie (1994) 
17. Television- Marquee Moon (1977)
16. Descendents- 
15. Buzzcocks
13. Husker Du- 
09. X- Los Angeles (1979)
08. Black Flag- Damaged (1981)
07. Minutemen- 
03. Sex Pistols- Never mind the Bollocks (1977)
02. The Clash-
01. Ramones- 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rolling Stone Picks 40 Punk Albums: Part 4, Where I Remove sporadic albums for not Cutting it for a top 40

The ever shrinking Rolling Stone list has dwindled from the 40 Greatest Punk Records of All Time to 21 great records minus some more.

Today the filter is records that just aren't that great, regardless of the impact the band may have had (Richard Hell, Dead Kennedys) and great bands, not my favorite release by them.

5. Impact, yes. Great Album, no. 

Richard Hell is probably the closest you can get to defining the visual aesthetic of first wave NY punk. Hands down. But outside of three songs, I think this album sucks.

The Dead Kennedys recorded an amazing batch of songs, and they definitely kicked butt live but I never could really get into their albums.

Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)
Richard Hell & the Voidoids- Blank Generation (1977)

6. Great Bands, but there are Better Albums

Gonna cut the fat here. I'm leaving the place holders, however, as I've done with the Buzzcocks. The Rolling Stone list included deserving bands, just not the greatest records by the bands mentioned.

Crass- Penis Envy (1981)
Fugazi- 13 Songs (1989)
Bad Brains- Bad Brains (1982)
Husker Du- Zen Arcade (1984)
Minutemen- Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
The Clash- The Clash (1977)
Ramones- Ramones (1977)

40. Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)
36. Crass- Penis Envy (1981)
35. Fugazi- 13 Songs (1989)
32. Misfits- Walk Among Us (1982)
29. Replacements- Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981)
28. Germs- G.I. (1979)
26. Flipper- Generic (1979)
24. The Jam- All Mod Cons (1978)
21. Richard Hell & the Voidoids- Blank Generation (1977)
20. X Ray Spex- Germ Free Adolescents (1978)
19. Bad Brains- Bad Brains (1982)
18. Green Day- Dookie (1994) 
17. Television- Marquee Moon (1977)
16. Descendents- Milo Goes to College (1984)
15. Buzzcocks
13. Husker Du- Zen Arcade (1984)
09. X- Los Angeles (1979)
08. Black Flag- Damaged (1981)
07. Minutemen- Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
03. Sex Pistols- Never mind the Bollocks (1977)
02. The Clash- The Clash (1977)
01. Ramones- Ramones (1977)